How to Secure Your Industrial Systems with Manufacturing Cybersecurity Best Practices?

Understanding Manufacturing Cybersecurity 

In a world where digital tech is shaking up manufacturing, keeping your cyber doors locked is a must. Companies are leaning more on digital systems and connected gadgets, making it crucial to guard their digital treasures. 

Industrial facility with cybersecurity elements

Why Cybersecurity Matters in Manufacturing? 

Cybersecurity in manufacturing isn’t just a fancy buzzword. As factories get smarter with cyber physical systems and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the bad guys are getting smarter too. It’s not just about keeping your data safe; it’s about making sure your machines keep humming, your supply chains stay intact, and your secret sauce (a.k.a. intellectual property) doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. 

If one part of your operation gets hit, it can mess up the whole show—stopping production, ruining product quality, or even shutting you down completely. For small and medium-sized businesses, staying on top of cybersecurity measures isn’t just about dodging threats; it’s about staying ahead of the game and keeping your customers happy. 

The Fallout of Data Breaches in Manufacturing 

When it comes to data breaches, the manufacturing sector takes a hard hit. According to AME Group, 93% of successful breaches happen in under a minute, but 80% of companies take weeks to even notice. This lag can make things way worse, leading to big money losses, shattered customer trust, and a tarnished reputation. 

Manufacturing is the top target for cybercriminals, making up 20% of all cyber extortion cases in 2023 (CybelAngel). Small businesses are especially at risk, with 60% of hacks aimed at them because they often lack strong cybersecurity defenses. This makes them easy prey for IP theft, which can seriously hurt their competitive edge.

Impact  Percentage 
Successful Data Breaches in Less Than a Minute  93% 
Businesses That Discover Breaches After Weeks  80% 
Cyber Extortion Campaigns Targeting Manufacturing  20% 
Hacks Targeting Small Businesses  60% 

The need for solid manufacturing cybersecurity is clear, especially with the cybersecurity market in manufacturing expected to hit $29.85 billion by 2027 (Databricks). Investing in cybersecurity is like buying insurance for your business, protecting your assets and keeping things running smoothly. 

For more tips on keeping your manufacturing operations safe from cyber threats, check out topics like cybersecurity in industry, oil and gas industry cybersecurity, and the broader cybersecurity industry. In today’s digital age, ignoring cybersecurity is like leaving your front door wide open. 

Cybersecurity Threats in Manufacturing 

Cybersecurity in manufacturing is like a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. As tech gets smarter and systems link up more, the chances of cyber attacks skyrocket. This puts operations, intellectual property (IP), and sensitive data at risk. 

Why Manufacturing is a Prime Target?

Manufacturing is a goldmine for cybercriminals. With loads of proprietary info and a crucial role in the economy, it’s no wonder bad actors are all over it. In 2023, manufacturing made up 20% of all cyber extortion campaigns, according to CybelAngel. This screams for better manufacturing cybersecurity. 

Industrial facility with cybersecurity elements

Why do they do it? Some want to steal trade secrets, others aim to mess up operations for competitive or political reasons. Small to medium-sized businesses are especially at risk—60% of hacks hit these guys, often leading to lost competitiveness due to stolen IP. 

Common Cyber Threats in Manufacturing 

Manufacturing companies face a bunch of cyber threats that can mess with their systems and data. Here are the big ones: 

  • Ransomware Attacks: The Sophos State of Ransomware in Manufacturing Report shows a scary trend. Ransomware attacks jumped from 36% in 2021 to 56% in 2023 (PureCyber). These attacks can shut down operations, causing big financial hits and downtime. 
  • Phishing Attacks: Often the gateway to worse cyber incidents, phishing attacks were behind a fifth of ransomware attacks in manufacturing in 2023. These scams trick employees into giving up sensitive info or access to secure systems. 
  • Insider Threats: Not all threats come from outside. Insider threats can involve current or former employees and partners with bad intentions or those who accidentally cause a breach. This includes folks with grudges or those tricked by social engineering. 

To fight these risks, manufacturing companies need solid cybersecurity strategies that fit their specific needs. This means not just tech solutions but also training employees to spot and stop potential threats. By understanding the cybersecurity threat landscape, manufacturers can better defend against cybercriminal tactics. Staying updated on the latest trends and best practices in industrial cybersecurity is also key to keeping operations safe and resilient. 

Best Practices for Manufacturing Cybersecurity 

In today’s tech-driven world, cyber threats are constantly changing. Manufacturing companies need to step up their cybersecurity game to protect their valuable assets, like intellectual property (IP) and operational systems. By putting certain measures in place, they can reduce risks and bounce back quicker from cyber attacks. 

Protecting Your Intellectual Property (IP) 

Your IP is gold. Keeping it safe is crucial for staying ahead of the competition. Here are some key steps to help protect it: 

  • Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR): Think of MXDR as your digital watchdog. It keeps an eye on your network and systems in real-time, spotting trouble early and reacting fast to stop IP breaches in their tracks. 
  • Know Your Assets: Make a list of all your IP assets. You can’t protect what you don’t know you have. 
  • Find the Gaps: Regularly check for weak spots in your cybersecurity and fix them. 
  • Control Access: Only let the right people access sensitive info. Keep it on a need-to-know basis. 
  • Keep Watch: Set up systems to constantly monitor for any unauthorized access or activities. Quick detection means quick action. 
  • Train Your Team: Make sure everyone knows the basics of cybersecurity and understands the importance of protecting IP. 

Stopping Ransomware in Its Tracks 

Ransomware can bring your production to a grinding halt and cost you big time. Here’s how to stay ahead of it: 

  • Stay Ahead: Be proactive with your security measures to stop ransomware before it starts. 
  • Watch Your Network: Keep an eye on your network 24/7 to catch any signs of a ransomware attack early. 
  • Backup Regularly: Always have up-to-date backups of your critical data stored securely. Make sure you can recover them easily. 
  • Patch It Up: Keep all your systems updated with the latest security patches to close any loopholes ransomware might exploit. 
  • Educate Your Team: Regularly train your employees to recognize and avoid ransomware threats. 
  • Have a Plan: Develop and practice an incident response plan so you can react quickly and efficiently if ransomware hits. 

By sticking to these best practices for manufacturing cybersecurity, you can build a strong defense against IP theft and ransomware attacks. These steps help ensure the smooth running of your operations and protect your company’s reputation and success in a tough market. 

Keeping Your Manufacturing Operations Safe 

In manufacturing, keeping things secure isn’t just about locking doors and windows anymore. With the rise of cyber physical systems in manufacturing and smart factories cybersecurity, it’s crucial to use advanced strategies to protect your assets and ideas. 

Teamwork for Better Cybersecurity 

To beef up security, it’s key to get Operational Technology (OT), Information Technology (IT), and Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) working together. This team effort is vital for creating and rolling out cybersecurity plans that fit the unique needs of manufacturing. 

A big part of this teamwork is knowing what you have. This means making a detailed list of all OT/Industrial Control Systems (ICS) devices. With a clear picture of what needs protecting, you can better spot risks and fix weak spots. Sharing tips and tricks within the industry, like through the National Center for Cybersecurity or oil and gas industry cybersecurity groups, also helps. 

Using Top-Notch Security Tools 

Just having firewalls isn’t enough anymore. Today’s threats need detailed security rules that protect each OT asset in your manufacturing setup. 

One key tool is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). This tool checks who’s trying to get in and controls access based on who they are and what they need. This way, only the right people can get to critical systems, cutting down the risk of break-ins and data leaks. 

Another must-have is Managed Extended Detection and Response (MXDR). MXDR keeps an eye on your network and systems in real-time, spotting and stopping threats fast. This proactive approach helps catch potential IP breaches before they become big problems, keeping your designs, processes, and products safe. 

Bringing in these advanced security tools is a smart move in the growing cybersecurity industry. As manufacturing keeps evolving with tech like cyber physical manufacturing systems and sensor security, so must the ways we protect the critical infrastructure that keeps this sector going. It’s not about if you should update your cybersecurity measures, but how fast you can keep up with the importance of manufacturing cybersecurity. For more further details seek professional advice with Right Hand Technology Group. 

Read more: CMMC for Manufacturing – How does CMMC work? 

  •   Jason Vanzin
  •   Jun 27, 2024
  •   Blog